Known as Week Zero, you’ll begin at Reception Battalion. When you arrive, you'll be told what you can and cannot bring with you. This will be your last chance to get rid of any prohibited items without being penalized. Refer to our checklist to be sure you show up with all the right items and leave everything else at home.

Over the next few days, you’ll be processing paperwork, getting your physical exam and shots, haircut, uniform, Army Physical Fitness Uniform (APFU) and your first Physical Training (PT) test. All this should take anywhere from two to five days, but it can sometimes take over a week.

During Reception Battalion, you’ll be getting a preview of BCT. You’ll be introduced to Army Values and the Warrior Ethos. You and your fellow recruits will begin exercises in teamwork, self-discipline, responsibility, leadership development, self-reliance, competence and confidence. You’ll continue to learn more about each of these qualities all along the way.


  • Amnesty Brief: When you arrive, you'll be told what you can and cannot have at Reception Battalion; this will be your last chance to get rid of any prohibited items without being penalized.
  • Military Recordkeeping: With the paperwork you brought with you, you'll set up the medical, financial and personnel records that will last for your entire military career.


  • Pay Station: After getting up at 0530 and eating breakfast in the chow hall, you'll go to the Pay Station to receive your ID card.
  • Smart Cards: You'll also be issued a Smart Card for BCT expenses, which is deducted from your first month's pay ($250 for males, $350 for females).
  • CIF (Central Issuing Facility): Here you'll get your uniforms and your TA-50 (field gear—your web belt, alice pack, canteen, helmet and vest [LBV]). Your civilian clothes will be returned to you when you ship to AIT or return home.
  • Medical Exams: You'll take a general medical exam, including a blood test. Females will have a blood test for pregnancy, and then a regular blood test on Day 2.
  • Briefings: You'll be briefed on the GI Bill, SGLI (Servicemembers Group Life Insurance) and the Reserve Component. You'll also have a "Moment of Truth" briefing, in which you need to disclose any obligations you haven't dealt with.
  • General Orientation: This station will introduce you to some Army basics, such as the chaplain's role; the Red Cross; the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice); company policies; and managing your personal affairs.
  • PX (Post Exchange): If you don't have items you need for BCT, you'll be able to buy them here. During inprocessing, your feet will be evaluated for the proper type of running shoe. If you are told to purchase new running shoes, you will buy them at the PX.


  • Vaccinations: You'll get six vaccination shots: measles, mumps, diphtheria, flubicillin, rubella and smallpox.
  • Vision and Dental Exam: You'll have a general vision checkup, along with a dental exam (including X-ray). At the dental exam you'll be issued a protective mouth guard, which you'll use during certain BCT training exercises.
  • Personal Affairs Division: Here you'll review your personal affairs, and verify that everything is complete. If anything remains unresolved by the time you get here, it can be a real showstopper, so make sure you've settled your affairs before you get to Reception Battalion.


  • Eyeglasses/Insert Lenses Provided: If you need glasses, they'll be made on site. You'll receive two pairs of glasses, plus insert lenses for your protective mask.
  • Photos, Yearbook, BCT Video and Ring: You'll be photographed in military uniform for the yearbook. At this station you may opt to purchase a yearbook, BCT video or graduation ring in advance.

DAYS 4–5

  • Final Processing: If everything is complete, you’ll get assigned to a unit and ship on Day 4. If you missed anything for any reason, you’ll do it on this day and then ship on Day 5. Before you ship, you’ll clean the barracks, get your ID tags and stencil your name on your bags.